Proposal (528) to South American Classification Committee
Merge Simoxenops into Syndactyla
Effect on SACC: Simoxenops ucayalae and Simoxenops striatus would become Syndactyla ucayalae and Syndactyla striatus.
Background and new information:
A recent phylogenetic analysis (Derryberry et al. 2011, Evolution) of the Furnariidae with nearly complete species-level taxon sampling found that the two species of Simoxenops were nested as closely related sister taxa within the Syndactyla clade. Within the Syndactyla clade, Simoxenops was sister to a clade that included all other Syndactyla except S. rufosuperciliata and S. dimidiatum, which formed a basally branching clade.
Personally I hate to see Simoxenops go, but none of the alternate treatments I can envision would maintain these two taxa in their own genus. In addition, the overall depth of this Syndactyla clade is consistent with other genus-level taxa in the Furnariidae.
These results are based on multiple vouchered individuals sequenced per species.
Relevant clade from figure in Derryberry et al. (2011):
DERRYBERRY, E., S. CLARAMUNT, G. DERRYBERRY, R. T. CHESSER, J. CRACRAFT, A. ALEIXO, J. PÉREZ-ÉMAN, J. V. REMSEN, JR., & R. T. BRUMFIELD. 2011. Lineage diversification and morphological evolution in a large-scale continental radiation: the Neotropical ovenbirds and woodcreepers (Aves: Furnariidae). Evolution 65: 2973–2986.
Comments from Stiles: “YES, as the Derryberry et al. phylogeny clearly indicates that these generic changes are necessary.”
Comments from Pacheco: “YES. The transfer is well justified by the results in the recent phylogenetic analysis.”
Comments from Robbins: “YES. The genetic data corroborate what Kevin Zimmer and I suggested (2005, Bull. Brit. Orn. Club), i.e., that Simoxenops be subsumed into Syndactyla based on plumage, structure, and vocalizations.”
Comments from Zimmer: ““YES. The genetic data (Derryberry et al. 2011) corroborate what Mark Robbins and I had earlier recommended (2005, Bull. Brit. Orn. Club): that Simoxenops be subsumed into Syndactyla based on vocal, plumage, and morphometric characters. I might also add that these same genetic data further corroborate the earlier SACC votes in Proposal #198 and Proposal #375 to transfer Philydor dimidiatum and Automolus roraimae respectively to the genus Syndactyla, based upon vocal, morphological, ecological and syringeal data presented in Robbins & Zimmer (2005) and in Zimmer, Robbins & Kopuchian (2007).”
Comments from Nores: “YES. The genetic data (Derryberry et al. 2011) and vocal, plumage, and morphometric characters (Robbins and Zimmer 2005), indicate that this change is justified.”